The Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, condemned the alleged moves by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, to relocate the headquarter of its subsidiary, the Nigerian Gas Company, NGC, from the Niger Delta to Abuja.
In a statement by his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Mr. Yomi Odunuga, the deputy senate president also called on all oil companies operating in the Niger Delta to relocate their headquarters to their areas of operation on the region.
Omo-Agege maintained that oil companies that left in the wake of the crisis in the region about a decade ago should also come back in view of the prevailing peace and to accelerate the development of the Niger Delta.
He noted that the relocation of the headquarters of oil multinational companies to the Niger Delta would speed up the development of the area, create job opportunities for the youths and reinforce the atmosphere of peace in the region. He said: “I am sure the message has been sent that they cannot move; they must remain.
And for those who have left, they must give a serious thought to relocating back to the Niger Delta. “What I’m saying now is not really news; even the Vice President, not too long ago, I believe, enjoined all those companies that left the Niger Delta, to relocate back. So, what I’m saying now is just following suit.”
Furthermore, Omo-Agege, explained that the just-concluded screening of the 43 ministerial nominees sent to the Senate by President Muhammadu Buhari was basically to ensure that they all complied with the minimum constitutional requirements to become cabinet members.
He said the 43 nominees sent by the President had already passed through series of security screening before their names were sent to the Senate in line with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
He said: “President Muhammadu Buhari, having contested and won election, is entitled to work with whoever he wants; our job in the Senate is not really to examine the nominees, but just to ensure they meet the barest minimum qualifications as required by the constitution.
“We all know what it is: for you to be a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, you must have the minimum qualifications with the membership of the House of Representatives and following the provision of the 4th alteration we made in the constitution, it has reduced the age qualification to contest for the House of Representatives .
“So, for us, it is just to go through the checklist – is this nominee up to the recommended age? If the answer is yes, we tick it. Is he educated up to School Certificate? That is what the constitution requires, if the answer is ‘yes’, we tick it. Has he/she been convicted of crime within the last ten years? If it’s ‘no’, we tick it. Is he a Nigerian citizen? If it’s ‘yes’, we tick it. And of course, is he a member of a political party? If it’s a ‘yes’, we tick it because you cannot run for the membership of the House of Representatives without being sponsored by a political party.
Once they meet these minimum requirements, the President has the right to work with them and that was the template which the Senate worked with to clear them.” On the qualifications of the nominees presented for screening, Omo-Agege recalled that that Mr. President insisted on nominating those he knows personally, adding that before they were sent to the Senate, “they had gone through the screening by the State Security Services and we received the certificates of clearance from the security body.”
He said, “before we began the screening process, we knew that none of them had legal issues.”